Monday, February 8, 2010

28 Days To Living Organized - Day 8 - De-Clutter Day

28 days to Living Organized

De-Clutter Day

To keep you on your toes we are switching gears a bit from the task of fixing a problem area to de-cluttering. This will be the first of 3 De-clutter Days we have this month.
What is clutter?
Whenever I’m unsure what a word means I turn to trusty old Merriam-Webster. M-W got me through many a term paper and essay in my school days and has yet to fail me in learning about the true meaning of words.

Here is their definition of clutter: to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.

Why De-clutter?
So clutter is stuff that has no sort of order to it that makes your life HARDER! Clutter might be junk that you just don’t need any more. Or it might be things you really do need which you are unable to get full value from because you just don’t have it sorted in a way that makes it work.

If you have no general interest in de-cluttering, allow yourself to be selfish. Reducing clutter will make your life easier. It’s true. It really, really is.
How do I do it?

1. Pick your space. For our purposes today, please do not choose the messiest room or closet in your house. I want you to get the feeling of success and tackling a small project first will increase your chances of making a big difference that you will feel.

If you aren’t sure where to start I suggest…

  • kitchen gadget/utensil drawer

  • “junk” drawer in the kitchen

  • linen closet

  • medicine cabinet

  • makeup bag

  • sock drawer
2. Empty the contents of the area onto a work surface if it’s a small amount of stuff. If you are doing something bigger, like a linen closet, follow these steps one at time for each shelf.
3. Purge! Get rid of anything that is clearly trash. Socks with holes, linens for a bed size you don’t have, The wooden spoon with a broken handle, makeup that is well past its prime (yes, makeup has expiration dates)
4. If in your purge you find things you want to donate (linens you don’t use, the lobster crackers you won’t use since you are allergic to shellfish) grab a box or bag and make a DONATION spot.
5. Look at what is left and purge again. The first time was easy, we got the low-hanging fruit. Now I’m asking you to actually look at what you think you “need” and ask yourself the following questions…
• Have I used it within the last year?
• Do I have a real foreseeable use for it within the next 3 months?
• Did I know this was in here before I started this de-cluttering process?
• Does looking at it make me smile?
If you answered NO to all of these then you probably need to get rid of it.
If you answered NO to all of these and you still don’t want to get rid of it, ask this…
• Do I know someone who could get immediate use from this item?
(your nephew who just moved into his first apartment and needs all the hand-me-down house wares he can get, the niece who is just learning to use makeup and would love some never used lipsticks, the neighbors with three preschoolers who could really use those extra C and D batteries in their kids toys, the kitchen at your church or office that could really use a replacement to that old coffee pot that’s seen better days)

• If I got rid of this today and found I have a need for it in 6 months would the cost of replacing it fit in our budget? (for example, getting rid of ladle you could replace for $5 might not break the budget)
• Do I have something else in the house that could stand in for this if I did find that I needed it?
If you answered YES to all of these questions, get rid of it!
If you answered NO to any of these questions, then keep it… for now. You will want to revisit this later. In fact after you see your newly cleaned out space, you may just find that dusty old item just doesn’t seem important any more
6. Put everything back. Now’s a good time to “organize” by finding cool ways to store things. But don’t worry if you don’t have the time or energy for that right now. Just getting rid of the extras will make the space feel much better
7. Move that DONATION box or bag to your car right now. Stop by your local donation center on your next trip out of the house and bless someone else out of your abundance.
How was that? Hard? Surprisingly easy? Hopefully you feel like a tiny weight has been lifted. And tomorrow, when you open the door or drawer you might just find yourself feeling a little more delighted. 

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